Friday, July 25, 2008

The Parable Of The Arrogant Young Bank Manager

A friend of mine told me this true story about a woman he knows in Beverly Hills. I will call her Mrs. Brown to protect her identity.

She was a cosigner or joint controller of all her elderly mother’s bank accounts and assets. When her mother died, she went to their bank to transfer the money and close her mother's accounts.

But the bank manager had become aware of the death so he placed a temporary hold on the accounts rendering them inaccessible to the daughter until they could verify, to their satisfaction, her relationship and her right to the joint assets. It was a foolish and unnecessary delay. When she complained to the young bank manager, he said to her, “Mrs. Brown, if you would just come in more often and make yourself better known, we would not have this problem.”

She explained, “Young man, I have had all my accounts here for many years. I was a customer before you were born. In fact I am a charter member of this bank.” He did not seem to be very impressed. He was cocky, in charge and not about to be moved. He arrogantly stuck to his decision just because he could.

So, starting the next day, Mrs. Brown came into the bank every single day, walked up to the manager’s desk, slapped her hand three times on his desk and loudly announced to everyone in the bank, “Mrs. Brown, here to make herself known.”

The novelty soon wore off and the staff came to dread the daily ritual. Every day as she walked through the door, the manager buried his head in his hands out of embarrassment. All the tellers and clients stopped what they were doing. Silence filled the room as all eyes were fixed on her while she articulated her daily pronouncement, “Mrs. Brown, here to make her presence known.”

The arrogant, young bank manager was rightfully humiliated and eventually learned the lesson. The bank staff came to understand that Mrs. Brown was a client. They were there to serve, not to control and they began to treat her and all their customers with more respect.

When Mrs. Brown tells that story, she always ends it with this little piece of advice,

“Don’t change banks;

change the bank.”

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